4 tips: Putting LinkedIn to work for B2B marketers.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Business Marketing Association National Conference at the historic Drake Hotel in Chicago, IL. The conference was titled “UNLearn”, reprogramming marketers when it’s business as UNusual, as we’ve all experienced over the past several months. Members of the LinkedIn team, including Patrick Crane, Vice President of Marketing, shared their remarks on how LinkedIn has become an agent of change for the world of business by connecting the world’s professionals and helping them to become more productive & successful. Crane believes that everyone in business today is an entrepreneur and LinkedIn helps to increase the use of your network to manage your personal brand, tap into insights & make decisions. Additionally, LinkedIn helps build & manager your network because relationships matter, that is the business of karma. You can do something good for someone else, like provide a recommendation, because your professional reputation isn’t just about your achievements, but also about your contributions. There are many ways to contribute on LinkedIn from recommendations to asking & answering questions.

So, you may be wondering, “What does all this have to do with B2B marketing?” Good question. After building your own personal & professional brand, you can utilize LinkedIn to achieve your company’s objectives. Steve Patrizi, Director of Advertising Sales & Operations at LinkedIn, provided 4 tips in a brief talk during a break-out session at the BMA National Conference.

1.) Leverage your best asset – your people. Employees can be the most natural bridges for prospects to become customers. “Brand” pages are fine, but “people” pages (personal profiles) are better because employees are part of the brand. Customers want to know who they’re doing business with; therefore, when they’re able to understand the people they do business with, they understand the company from which they buy. Before you can leverage anything, you’ll need to join LinkedIn, for free (http://3.ly/LinkedInJoin).

2.) Listen to & learn from your customers by using the questions & answers option (http://3.ly/LinkedInQA). Solicit advice from peers and show your expertise by answering questions from those seeking advice.  Additionally, join & participate in groups to understand what challenges & successes your customers face in the world of business today.

3.) Target & engage by creating either large or small profile-based advertising campaigns (http://3.ly/LinkedInAds). LinkedIn helps focus your message by geography, seniority, industry, profession or company size. Take advantage of rich profile data to maximize your advertising results. For example, did you know that LinkedIn reaches an audience of 40+ million professionals (http://3.ly/LinkedInWikipedia) with an average household income of $109,000?

4.) Join the conversation & add value by using apps (http://3.ly/LinkedInApps). Create a poll and share it with your network to collect market data. See what books your customers are reading & let them know which books you’ve found valuable in your experience. Hear your Company Buzz by using this app to find out what your market it saying. Share your upcoming event, presentation or blog link. Take advantage of collaboration tools like Huddle Workspaces & Box.net files. LinkedIn has been & will be dedicated to providing only the most professional applications to enrich your profile & help you become more effective.

I am truly amazed by the many ways in which LinkedIn may be such a powerful resource for any B2B Marketer and I encourage you to make time to learn more & integrate this tool into your program (http://3.ly/LinkedInMoreInfo).

© 2009 Michael Flavin
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